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If you have seen Morris sides out dancing then you may well have seen an additional member of the side out entertaining the public with their antics - the Animal or Character.
There is not enough space here to give anything more than a short taster of the wide variety of these wonderful additions to the tradition.

The Hobby Horse. hobby.gif - 3541 Bytes You could be forgiven for thinking this is just a man inside a wooden horse running around but these strange creatures are mostly harmless - they just forage for any food they can get. If you see one, please feed it - its diet is simple, just the odd coin or two will keep it happy. The Green Man. greenman.gif - 4273 Bytes The bridge between nature and man. Often found communing with nature lying on a pub lawn or hiding in the bushes looking for his tankard. Always offer a drink when you see one - it is lucky ( particularly for the Green Man). The Betty. betty.gif - 4545 Bytes The man/woman creature whose origins are lost in time but if you see one and find her strangely attractive, there is only one thing to say - go home and sleep it off! The Fool. fool.gif - 3339 Bytes A good fool is usually the one you see 'fooling around' with the bladder on a stick ( not his own bladder of course!). In a way, his task is to make sure the audience is paying attention but it can be the hardest task of all since a competent fool will often dance in ( or around ) every dance and entertain in the intervals which is more than an individual dancer usually does. Some fools have party tricks like fire-eating or juggling. Various. animal.gif - 4629 Bytes Animals, unicorns, horses, cows, foxes and all sorts. Now you and I know they are just men inside a costume but when you see one you will find it hard to believe - they take on a complete new identity when they are in there!
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12th July 2021
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